About the Meaning of Life

When I first posted to this blog my first short thoughts about the meaning of the life, I had completely forgotten, that in 1994 I had first read Viktor E. Frankl’s book Man’s Search for Meaning, original name Ein Psycholge erlebt das Konzentrationslager (some kind of direct translation into English could be ”A Psychologist experiences a concentration camp”. The Finnish translation to the book is Ihmisyyden rajalla. Direct translation to this in English is On the border of humanity.

Why this book is so important to me is, that my so called high school (lukio) years were pure hell to me… My math teacher was sure that I would fail the 6 hours examination on math and I can’t blame him: Because of the circumstances while I was at high school, I didn’t at first pass some of the math courses. At lukio in Finland the grades are from 4 to 10 in all the courses. I got some 4s in math and had to try again to get at least 5 to pass the course. It was a miracle that the average of my math grades eventually was even 6 that is really weak grade.

From the final 6 hours exam that is the same (though in math there is more advanced line compared to the other to choose from) for every  high school students in Finland, I got eventually cum laude approbatur as grade. At the time the grades for this exam were improbatur (failed), approbatur, lubenter approbatur, cum laude approbatur, magna cumlaude approbatur and laudatur. Nowadays there is eximia magna cum laude approbatur between magna and laudatur.

But I didn’t do the final exam that consists of many days of 6 hours exams with the other students. With my school’s principal I had agreed that I will do the whole exam apart from the other students. This was how in my high school years I did eventually also all the courses after the first year.


Image courtesy of surasakiStock at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

After I had read many Viktor E. Frankl’s books, it was after two years when I took the one chance to try to raise my math grades: I got 9 for the 11 math courses, laudatur for the final exam. I was on the ”advanced mathematics” courses at high school. Though compared to university math those high school courses are child play.

I compared often my high school years to Frankl’s experiences. Of course his experiences were whole lot more extreme: He couldn’t be sure if he sees the next morning – or hour… Though, later on my life seeing the next morning hasn’t been very certain…

To emphasize Frankl’s books importance, they made me understand how to live. One point is: No matter how terrible the circumstances in one’s life are, one should strive to see some meaning to live and get even further in life. The worst case that Frankl describes for a human is, that one has only one’s existence. This is where one should try to find meaning to one’s existence, after that one can begin to find meanings to one’s life.

I really should get back to the ideas of meaning of life. As Frankl’s says, he understood, that the highest goal in one’s life is love. But as to meaning of life, Frankl has written that life (some other person) should ask that from oneself; it’s hard to really find the meaning of life by oneself. Even if one can as a word or some kind of concept see love as the primary meaning of life, depending on the circumstances it may be hard to find the right path directly.

One thing that I’ve said to myself sometimes is: Life must be experienced, it’s not be watched on the TV. Only by living, one can learn how to live and get real experiences from which to learn.

Link: Wikipedia: Viktor E. Frankl